The European Union increasingly responds to crises and addresses longer-term security threats around the world. The Lisbon Treaty stipulates that the European Union aims to “preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security” (Article 21:2 TEU). Peacebuilding is generally understood as comprising a range of measures that try to reduce the risk of (re-)lapsing into conflict by strengthening a country’s capacities for conflict management, laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development. In the EU’s external action, conflict prevention, peacebuilding and mediation have gained importance in recent years.
Peace and conflict prevention/resolution is also one of the declared areas of focus of Rotary International, the international service organization which unites over 35,000 Rotary clubs worldwide. For many years, Rotary members have organized special programmes, campaigns and service projects to prevent and mediate conflict by addressing its underlying structural causes, including poverty, inequality and lack of access to education. Every year, Rotary’s Peace Center Programme provides special grants – so-called Peace Fellowships – for up to 100 individuals to study peace and conflict prevention in one of six partner universities around the world.
This conference addressed various aspects of peacebuilding. The keynote address was delivered by the leading peace researcher Peter WALLENSTEEN, Senior Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden, and Richard G. Starmann Senior Research Professor of Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. He presented the notion of quality peace which stresses the importance of civil society, security, governance, economic reconstruction, and reconciliation (including transitional justice).
The keynote address was followed by a roundtable with Visiting Professors from the College of Europe, focusing on the EU’s role in peacebuilding, and a presentation of the Rotary Peace Fellowships. The conference was organized by the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies together with The Rotary Foundation.
The conference was concluded with a drinks reception.
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